The curse of Jimmy Johnson
When Jimmy Johnson took over for Don Shula in 1995 many believed it was time for a change. Johnson was coming out of the studio to return to Miami where he once led the Miami Hurricanes to a national title. He took the Dallas Cowboys to victory in Super Bowls. He was going to change everything in Miami.
Johnson did change things in Miami and it started with separating the team from its history. Johnson wanted to create his own history in Miami so he didn’t allow former players to visit the team. He declined appearances that included Don Shula and forbid alumni from speaking with his team. The Dolphins removed much of what the team had accomplished from the training center. All in an effort to instill a new team concept under Johnson.
For all of his actions, nothing worked. The Dolphins faltered under Johnson and couldn’t get deep in the playoffs. Johnson was saddled with Dan Marino, the cookie jar, he called him. Yet Johnson wanted a different team. A team that was more run heavy than pass but Johnson couldn’t parlay his draft picks into the success he had in Dallas. Johnson missed on many of his selections and his trades made little sense. Johnson didn’t have a salary cap in Dallas but things in the NFL had changed since his last coaching days in the NFL.
Did Johnson’s shunning of the Dolphins history lead to the teams downward spiral? Did Johnson’s desire to wipe clean the slate irritate the football god’s to the point where they would wipe away anything Johnson and his predecessors could accomplish? Taking away everything before it got started? Johnson’s hand-picked successor Dave Wannstedt would soon find out as his teams, while competitive, would eventually lead to cap problems, poor drafting, and begin the final slide into the abyss below mediocrity.
Next: The Louisiana curse